Coleman

112-year-old Brodhead family guest book — Post I

Honeymoon photo, Frank M. Brodhead and Fannie Bishop Woodruff, married June 6, 1908

In the coming weeks, I’m going to be publishing the pages of a guest book that was given to my grandparents when they moved into their new home at 736 Jersey Avenue in Elizabeth, Union Co., New Jersey, in June 1908.  Their minister Rev. William Force Whitaker of the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth was the first guest who signed in, and his handwriting matches the handwriting you see here, so the book evidently was a gift from him. About 18 months’ worth of guests is recorded. Many of you will recognize the names of those who stopped by. I’m not publishing all the pages at once since I will have comments to make about certain names and want to research some others.

I am going to assume that the house number 736 is correct, however, a previous post I did on my grandparents’ wedding contained a newspaper announcement that gave the house number as 732.  It could be that parents (Andrew D. and Margaret Brodhead) lived at 732, since I have seen that as their address, and my grandparents at 736.  A visit to Google street view indicates that both those homes have been replaced (quite recently it appears) by a townhouse-looking structure, so, alas, the number discrepancy is neither here nor there—there shall never be real estate listings showing the inside of those two dwellings.

The pages below show a child’s scribbles, revealing that my Dad or his brother must have gotten his hands on the guest book at some point. Or perhaps the scribbles were made by the children of some visitors…

The first page shows the following guests — after the Reverend (who resided at 142 Stiles Street, Elizabeth, NJ):

The Van Horn Children: Abigail Van Horn, Frances Van Horn, and Robert Osborn Van Horn

In any case, I will welcome your comments as you see names you recognize. Please feel free to share any information you may know about the people behind them for the benefit of other family members who follow this blog. Thank you!


Categories: Baker, Barksdale, Brodhead, Coleman, Elizabeth, Union Co., Family Homes, Heirlooms, New Jersey, Presbyterian, Townley, Woodruff | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

Last group photos of the Woodruff sisters, early 1950s

My garage clear-out yielded these two group photos of my grandmother Fannie B. Woodruff and her five sisters, Jennie, Flora, Mildred, Cecelia, and Bertha—the children of William Earl Woodruff and Wealthy Ann Angus. The photos were damaged and faded, but some “Photoshopping” has helped to revive them a bit. Oldest sister Jennie died in October 1955 so the image was obviously taken sometime prior to that. Sister Flora Ulrich lived out in California, so maybe this photo was taken to commemorate her visit to New Jersey or to mark some other special/solemn occasion, perhaps even the death of one of their spouses. My grandfather died in May 1951 and Jennie’s in December 1953. The location I am not sure of; but I think it may have been my grandmother’s home in Scotch Plains, NJ. I think it’s somewhat sweet that in the top photo they are all looking in different directions as if trying to catch their best sides. In the photos I have of them in their much younger years, all heads were always pointed in the same direction.

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Front Row: Jennie Bell Woodruff Coleman, Fannie Bishop Woodruff Brodhead, Flora May Woodruff Baker Ulrich /// Back Row: Bertha Winans Woodruff, Wealthy Mildred Woodruff Brown, Cecelia Russum Woodruff Van Horn

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Front Row: Bertha (daughter #6) and Jennie (daughter #1) Back Row: Cecelia (daughter #3), Mildred (daughter #5), Fannie (daughter #4), Flora (daughter #2)

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Categories: Brodhead, Brown, Coleman, Elizabeth, Union Co., Hillside Union, New Jersey, Russum, Scotch Plains, Ulrich, Van Horn, Winans, Woodruff | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Image circa late 1890s – Elizabeth, NJ – One Coleman, several unknowns

Here is an image of a few unknowns. I love the photographer! I’m quite certain that’s C. Clarence Coleman on the right. He was born in 1877 and he looks to be about 20 here, maybe younger. I’m not very good with ages. The young fellow to his left looks very familiar but I can’t place him. For some reason this photo was mixed in with some Brodhead family photos which initially struck me as odd given young Coleman is in the photo, but my Grandmother Brodhead was a Woodruff and her older sister Jennie ended up as Clarence’s bride in 1904, so perhaps those connections were all in the process of being established or in place when this photo was taken. Everything would be clearer if I knew who these other folks were. If anyone can identify them, please let me know. The woman on the left looks a bit like Clarence—perhaps, a sister?
Have a great day, All!
PS: The fence is the exact same type my dad built around our swimming pool in the early 1970s. I wonder if the inspiration came from this very spot, provided the fence here lasted another 30-40 years!
Unknown_image_photographer

Categories: Angus, Coleman, Elizabeth, Union Co., Miscellaneous, Woodruff | Tags: , | 7 Comments

Last of the Coleman family photos – two unknowns – 1917 & 1918

Here are two more photos that belonged to the Coleman family. They are unlabelled, and I have no idea who these folks are. Perhaps they are Coleman or Woodruff family members. If anyone reading this has any thoughts, please leave a comment. Thanks!

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Unknown woman; photographer Newman (?), dated 1918

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Unknown child; photographer Newman (?), dated 1917

Categories: Coleman, Woodruff | Tags: | Leave a comment

Circa 1900? – Unidentified lady with cat & little girl at tennis court

Here’s and interesting photo that was in the Colemans‘ possession. It is unlabelled. As far as a date goes, I am thinking 1890s/early 1900s? Thoughts, anyone? It’s highly possible these are Coleman / Angus / Woodruff family members, but so far I can’t make any best guesses. I’m assuming the photo was taken somewhere in Elizabeth, New Jersey, given that’s where they were all based at the time, with a few exceptions. If anyone recognizes this lady and little girl, please let me know. Thank you!

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Elizabeth, New Jersey, tennis court – unidentified woman with cat and young girl

Categories: Angus, Coleman, Elizabeth, Union Co., Tennis, Woodruff | Leave a comment

Jennie Belle Woodruff (1873-1955) & Charles Clarence Coleman (1877-1953)

As promised in my July 25 post, I am adding some more Coleman family photos to this blog. Jennie Belle Woodruff Coleman was the daughter of William Earl Woodruff & Wealthy Ann Angus. Jennie was the oldest of six children, all daughters. I have posted photos of the sisters previously. For those images, click here, and here.

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Doctor’s bill for delivering Jennie Belle Woodruff (from our family archives)

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Baby Jennie Belle Woodruff, eldest of six daughters of William Earl Woodruff and Wealthy Ann Angus Woodruff; born 24 November 1873 in Elizabeth, NJ.

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Jennie Belle Woodruff, undated, but probably ca 1875/6; love her ‘Glum Plum’ expression; perhaps, it was nap time and crankiness was setting in

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Jennie Belle Woodruff holding tulips, undated, on occasion of graduation, ca. 1891? Or engagement? In the case of the latter she would have been approx. 31 here (she married on 16 June 1904)

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I found what I believe is an image of Clarence as a young man (left); I’ve compared it to a photo of him in his early 40s, and I think there is a strong likeness.

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Jennie Belle Woodruff Coleman with daughter Jennie Belle (b. Oct 1914)

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Daughter Jennie Belle, ca. 1917

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Daughter Jennie Belle, circa 1919; she endured a lifelong struggle with distonia, a neurological movement disorder.

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The Coleman Family (Charles Clarence (‘C.C’) with wife Jennie Belle Woodruff and daughter Jennie Belle) – ca. 1922

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Daughter Jennie Belle Coleman, circa 1930; HS graduation?

Daughter Jennie Belle Coleman

Daughter Jennie Belle Coleman; college graduation photo?; graduated with a degree in teaching; was a member of the DAR (her patriot was Hezekiah Hand, her paternal grandmother’s great-grandfather)

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Two articles: House burglary in 1914 and Clarence’s 1937 appointment to Commissioner

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Jennie Belle Woodruff Coleman, undated

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Jennie Belle Woodruff Coleman with Charles Clarence Coleman, undated (late 1940s/early 1950s?)

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Daughter Jennie Belle Coleman (left) – 1970s

Categories: Coleman, Elizabeth, Union Co., Woodruff | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Elizabeth, NJ: Coleman house interior

Coleman_house_interior This is the northeast corner of Clarence and Jennie (Woodruff) Coleman‘s living room in the house they built at 17 Wilder Street in Elizabeth, NJ, in 1912, I believe. The living room was on the left when you walked through the front door. The photograph was taken professionally, by ‘John L. Soltis’ of Elizabeth, and is undated. The house was torn down in the 1970s and replaced with an apartment building.

The C. Clarence Coleman family home at 17 Wilder Street, late 1930s/early 1940s (Standing, third from the left, is Jennie Woodruff Coleman; Clarence is the gentleman in the hat to her left. Their daughter is to Jennie's right. My dad, a nephew of Clarence and Jennie is standing by the door to the truck)

The C. Clarence Coleman family home at 17 Wilder Street, late 1930s/early 1940s (Standing, third from the left, is Jennie Woodruff Coleman; Clarence is the gentleman in the hat to her left. Their daughter is to Jennie’s right. My dad, a nephew of Clarence and Jennie is standing by the door to the truck)

How did we end up with this photo, you may be asking? After the Coleman’s daughter Jennie (only child; never married) died in the 1990s, we were contacted by a cousin of hers who lived in a NJ seaside town. At the time, my mom was in Florida (dad had passed away five years earlier), and I was living in London. The cousin told us that there were “a lot of family papers and other items that you should have, but it’s a lot and we can’t possibly ship it.” I had some vacation time and mom was retired so we met in Newark and drove down to get all of this stuff. When we arrived we were shown a couple of regular-size boxes, nothing that could not have been shipped… Needless to say we were ever so slightly annoyed, but on the other hand, got to converse with this cousin of Jennie’s and her spouse, both in their 70s by then, on family & family history matters.

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Clarence and Jennie (Woodruff) Coleman with daughter Jennie, circa 1920

These boxes, containing some photos, newspaper clippings, year books and other memorabilia, were all that was left of the Coleman estate, at least as far as family members were concerned. The rest of the estate, which was quite substantial in both money and antiques, was all taken by the executor who moved out of state. A lawsuit was filed by the executor’s sister (all public record), and eventually this individual was removed from the executor-ship of the estate by court order. But, by the time that happened, there was nothing… he’d supposedly spent it all—all the fruits of Clarence Coleman’s labor.

I remember sitting on that beautiful, antique sofa many times. It was unlike anything we’d seen elsewhere as kids in the 1960s, and the picture on the wall above it always captivated me. The books and things in the corner were off-limits to us little kids, of course. I have vague memories of the rest of the room. I believe there was a fireplace on the west side of the room, as well as doors leading out to the covered porch.

I will probably publish another one or two posts containing the rest of the materials we have from this family. There are no descendants, so I think it’s important that their lives be remembered in this blog, especially since (I think) that is unlikely to happen anywhere else, now or in the future.

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Categories: Coleman, Elizabeth, Union Co., Woodruff | Tags: , | 8 Comments

The Woodruff Sisters decades later

Unfortunately, the Woodruff sisters (the six children of William Earl Woodruff & Wealthy Ann Angus) did not pose together later in life as they did in their younger years (see previous post). But I do have a photo of four of them together from the 1950s. As time goes by, I will try to piece together more information about them and perhaps do a few more individual posts. (Note: A post about Bertha already appeared on this blog some time ago.) All the ladies made it into their eighties: Wealthy Mildred Brown – 86, Jennie Belle Coleman – 82, Cecelia Van Horn 87+ (still looking for an exact DOD), Fannie Brodhead – 84, Bertha Woodruff – 85, Flora May Baker Ulrich (married twice) – 85.

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The Woodruff sisters, circa 1905 (?)

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The Woodruff Sisters minus Cecelia & Bertha: Jennie, Flora, Mildred, and Fannie (spring 1952)

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Cecelia Woodruff Van Horn with husband Robert Osborn Van Horn, sharing a happy moment. Married circa 1902, perhaps this was on the occasion of their 50th anniversary?

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Bertha enjoying the French Riviera on her 1950’s Grand Tour of Europe

Categories: Angus, Baker, Brodhead, Coleman, Van Horn, Woodruff | 2 Comments

The Woodruff Sisters

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Categories: Baker, Brown, Coleman, Van Horn, Woodruff | 11 Comments

Century-old Brodhead wedding gift list offers family clues

Fannie Bishop Woodruff (1882-1965)

Fannie Bishop Woodruff (1882-1965)

When I first glanced at the list of my grandparents’ wedding gifts (Frank M. Brodhead & Fannie B. Woodruff) a number of years back, most of the names did not ring any bells. Now, six years into delving deeper into my family history, many of these names are familiar to me, and I even almost feel as if I know some of them, as odd as that may sound. Naturally, the list both offers clues and raises questions, but c’est la guerre when you’re peeling the six-ton onion that is your family tree.

The wedding took place in Hillside (adjacent to Elizabeth), NJ, at the Woodruff family home on Conant Street on 6 June 1908. For the 1900 census, the family was living at “258 Conant Street”, where today there is nothing but an empty field. However, I’d be willing to wager that 100+ years ago, the old Francis Woodruff home (built by Fannie’s grandfather Francis in 1845 and inherited by eldest son William–Fannie’s father—in 1883) was actually 258 Conant Street because it was a working farm until the land surrounding the home was sold for housing developments. So while I could be mistaken, I feel confident the Woodruff family lived in this home on Conant Street, which is still standing. I remember my dad taking us past this house as kids and telling us that that was where his mom (Fannie) and her sisters were born.

By the way, a brief mention of the Francis Woodruff home can be found in the six-page PDF Eight Colonial Homes, an undated publication put out by the staff of the Hillside National Bank: A third Woodruff house, while appearing to be the same vintage as the others, was erected about 1845. […] …it is frequently the subject of artists’ paint brushes because of its picturesque setting. It was built by Francis Woodruff, a descendant of Enos Woodruff. A letter from Mathias Woodruff in 1843 to his brother, another Enos Woodruff, comments that he is planning to return from Louisiana to help his cousin, Ezra Woodruff, erect a house for Frank. The letter jokingly said in part: “Frank will want him to put up a house next summer. I have advised him to find out from the neighbors what kind of house he wants, sort of architecture, on which side to put the kitchen, dog house, pig pens. If all parties are satisfied, it will save a great deal of talk.” Oddly enough it was constructed sideways to the road, but when the Westminster section was developed by Edward Grassman in the 1930’s, Revere Drive was placed in front of it, so today it faces a street. [On a sad side note, brother Matthias died of yellow fever in St. Francisville, LA, in 1844, and never made it home to help Frank build his house.]

My grandmother was 17 at the time of the 1900 census and worked as a stenographer. Before she was married eight years later, she was working as a secretary for Mr. Edward D. Duffield, then president of Prudential Insurance Co.

Wedding gift list, 1st page

Wedding gift list, 1st page (CLICK to enlarge)

Unfortunately, we have no photos from the big wedding day, which is disappointing. I feel very wistful when viewing others’ late 19th- and early 20th-century wedding photos—I sure wish we had some.

Notably absent from the wedding would have been Ophelia Easton Brodhead, grandmother of the groom and wife of Andrew Jackson Brodhead. She died in 1904, just shy of her 82nd birthday, and her husband Andrew’s gift is noted as being given in her memory. Also absent was Calvin Brodhead, Ophelia and Andrew’s son, who passed away in 1907, but two of his children—Alex and Emily—were in attendance. The bride’s grandparents had all passed away by then, one before she was born (James W. Angus) and two when she was just one year’s old (Francis Woodruff & Mary Jane Trowbridge). She would only have had memories of her grandmother Wealthy Ann Jaques Angus who died when Fannie was not quite ten. (Ironically, Fannie is the only grandparent I have any recollection of; all my other grandparents passed away before I was born.)

The gift list contains 133 items, so I won’t scan in and post all the pages, but I will list some of the gift-givers who stand out to me as well as some I would like to figure out. For example, Aunt Fannie Bishop. Who was she?—I wondered. She must have been someone important since my grandmother was named after her! Upon checking census records, I did indeed discover a Fannie Bishop (b. Feb 1852) living with her husband and children (Samuel, William, and Charles) in that very same neighborhood, so perhaps “Aunt Fannie” was a childhood friend of my grandmother’s mother. In short, there are names to be explored here, and as time goes by, it may be possible to figure out who more of these folks are. The Earls are no doubt all cousins, etc., via William Woodruff’s grandmother Mary Ogden Earl (married John Woodruff in 1817), and I have done nothing yet to research that line, so I am sure once I do get around to it, some of these names will start to pop up. Likewise with the Cranes, a very old Elizabeth, NJ, family.

A. D. Brodhead (father of the groom)

A. D. Brodhead (father of the groom)

Margaret Martin Brodhead (mother of the groom)

Margaret Martin Brodhead (mother of the groom)

The parents of the bride and groom were: Andrew Douglas (A. D.) Brodhead and Margaret Lewis Martin Brodhead, and William Earl Woodruff and Wealthy Ann Angus Woodruff. The extended Woodruff and Angus families were very large, the former being among the original settlers of what became Union County. Andrew Brodhead, who hailed from Mauch Chunk, PA, and whose immediate and extended family was also very large, met and married Margaret Martin (a descendant of David Wait & Irene Bell) of Perth Amboy, NJ, and, after living for many years in that town, they and their children transitioned to Elizabeth.

Perhaps, you will find the name(s) of some of your ancestors on this list, and if you do, please feel free to give a ‘shout-out’ in the comment box. It’s fascinating to see so much family coming together for a big event, something that probably happened much more often back then given how enormous families were. Births, weddings, and funerals must have been quite common occasions.

Brodhead-Woodruff Wedding Announcement (Probably clipped from the Elizabeth Daily Journal) - from our family's private archives

Brodhead-Woodruff Wedding Announcement – CLICK to enlarge (Probably clipped from the Elizabeth Daily Journal) – from our family’s private archives

I’m including the wedding announcement, which I posted once previously on the blog, but I think it adds to this post so I am publishing it again. As for the necklace mentioned, I suspect it was sold to a new owner during the Great Depression; I never heard my Dad mention it or its whereabouts.

Well, here is the list! (As always, comments, corrections, additions, etc., are always welcome.)

  • Mr & Mrs Blakslee [sister and brother-in-law of father of the groom]—1 dozen silver knives
  • Mr. & Mrs. Alex Brodhead [son and daughter-in-law of the late Calvin Brodhead & Laura Leisenring; Calvin was father-of-the-groom’s older brother]—Berry set and silver spoon
  • Mrs. E. B. Earl—Silver tongs
  • Lizzie Earl—Sherbet glasses
  • Grace Earl—Picture
  • The Misses Crane—Doily
  • Miss Emily Easton Brodhead [daughter of the late Calvin Brodhead & Laura Leisenring; Calvin was father-of-the-groom’s older brother]—1/2 dozen orange spoons
  • Annie Earl—Cherry centerpiece
  • Florence Earl—Butter spreader
  • Mr. and Mrs. R. O. Van Horn [sister and brother-in-law of bride]—Old-fashioned chair
  • Mildred W. Woodruff [sister of bride]—Green (?)
  • Andrew J. Brodhead [ brother of the groom]—1/2 dozen sherbet glasses ivy leaf
  • Mr. Richard Brodhead  [brother of father of the groom] & family—cut-glass bowl
  • Mr. & Mrs. A. D. Brodhead [father and mother of groom]—Bread tray, mustard (?), and salt dish & cash
  • Aunt Vean & Elizabeth Booth [mother-of-the-bride’s younger sister Lavinia P. Angus Marthaler & her cousin]—Table center
  • Dr. G. Carlton Brown [future husband of Mildred W. Woodruff, sister of the bride]—Tabourette
  • Cal & Gertrude Brodhead [son and daughter-in-law of Garret Brodhead (father of groom’s brother) & Annie Kocher]—Gas Lamp
  • James E. Brodhead [brother of father of the groom] & family—$60
  • Mr. Charles C. Martin [brother of mother of the groom]—Cut-glass water pitcher
  • Mr. and Mrs. John Davidson [Likely a cousin of Margaret Lewis Martin Brodhead, mother of the groom; the two shared a common great grandfather, John Oliver Wait]—cut-glass vase
Honeymoon photo, Frank M. Brodhead and Fannie Bishop Woodruff, married June 6, 1908

Honeymoon photo, Frank M. Brodhead and Fannie Bishop Woodruff, married June 6, 1908

The bride's parents: Wm Earl Woodruff & Wealthy Ann Angus

The bride’s parents:
Wm Earl Woodruff & Wealthy Ann Angus

  • Mr. E. B. Earl—Cream & sugar (silver)
  • Mr. & Mrs. W. A. C. Earl—1/2 dozen spoons
  • Julia Crane —Salad bowl
  • Alice Crane—Glass vase
  • Fanny Crane—Cut-glass berry bowl
  • Mr. & Mrs. Walter H. Knowles [cousin of bride; son of Mary Martha Winans Angus and Austin F. Knowles]—Butter knife
  • Mr. & Mrs. Job W. Angus [mother-of-the-bride’s brother and sister-in-law Jeannette Tillou]—Cut-glass bowl
  • Mr. & Mrs. Morris Budd [parents of wife of Ogden Bonnell Woodruff, cousin of bride’s father]—cut-glass (?)
  • Aunt Fannie Bishop—China centerpiece
  • Aunt Edith & Uncle Walter [Walter Prince Angus and his wife Edith Marshall; Walter was the youngest brother of the bride’s mother]—Cucumber server
  • Celia Belle and Nell—Salt & pepper
Fannie Bishop Woodruff

Fannie Bishop Woodruff

Bertha Woodruff was maid of honor

Bertha Woodruff was maid of honor

  • Mr. & Mrs. John Woodruff [father-of-the-bride’s cousin, son of Ogden and Phebe Woodruff, and his wife Carrie Conover]—Sugar shaker
  • Aunt Annie Crane—Silver cream ladle
  • Mr. & Mrs. Scott O. Woodruff—Picture
  • Watts Knowles [cousin of bride; son of Mary Martha Winans Angus and Austin F. Knowles]—Silver sugar spoon
  • Mr. & Mrs. A. F. Knowles [Aunt of the bride–Mary Martha Winans Angus—and Austin F. Knowles]—Silver butter spoon
  • Gertrude Knowles [cousin of bride; daughter of Mary Martha Winans Angus and Austin F. Knowles]—Hand-worked towels
  • Lewis Brodhead [brother of the groom]—Knives – 2 dozen – 2 sizes; Carvers – 2 sets – 2 sizes; Pie knife, 1/2 dozen tablespoons, 1 dozen teaspoons
Categories: Angus, Ayers, Blakslee, Bonnell, Brodhead, Coleman, Crane, Dickinson, Elizabeth, Union Co., Jaques, Marthaler, Martin, Packer, Russum, Wait, Weddings, Woodruff | 2 Comments

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